A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

1002 Words 5 Pages
“There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.” William Sherman. A Long Way Gone, written by Ishmael Beah, recounts a real life experience of a child soldier in Sierra Leone and like Sherman said he finds war to be hell. The memoir portrays in horrific detail the realities of war and the effects it has on all the people. Ishmael Beah is only twelve when the war arrives on his doorstep in 1993. It tears apart his family and leaves him to wander the country for months with other boys in search of their families. Along the journey they are forced to make a decision that will forever change their lives. As the author faces the challenge of survival in his war torn country he has to do whatever possible …show more content…
To survive the war he is forced to join the army and does horrific things. Some situation requires him to kill people; at other times his commander tells him to murder civilians in cold blood. Due to this along with many of the other things he sees cost him his innocence of childhood. After of the raids on a nearby village for supplies they capture a few of the men from the village. They are then brought back to Ishmael’s camp. The some boys including Ishmael eagerly agree to kill them when the commander asks for volunteers. It is made into a competition of who can kill their captive first and quickest: “I dropped him on the ground and wiped my bayonet on him: I reported to the Corporal, who was holding a timer” (125). Ishmael win and is promoted to junior lieutenant. The boys have been so brainwashed by this time they enjoy the killing and have no problem with it showing how much they have become used to it. As the book progresses he shares some of the nightmares he has. All his dreams include death and in one instance he dreams of blood filling a room and drowning it showing how much he was affected by what he had …show more content…
His will to live put him in some awful situations like having to abandon his family. The loss of his innocence he experienced forever changed his life in ways no child should ever go through. His fluctuating emotions came from his loss of innocence and made it hard for him to trust people. These all find their roots from the events of the civil war that tore apart Sierra Leone in the 1990’s through to the early 2000’s. After the conflict and all the others like it hopefully people realized the effect it has. If not then someone needs to take that first step that is required to prevent future and current conflicts like past

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